Trump cannot line up full bond in New York fraud case, offers to post $100 million

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 11:02 AM

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump is unable to post a full bond while he appeals a $454.2 million judgment that a judge imposed in New York state’s civil fraud case against him, and wants instead to secure a $100 million bond, his lawyers said on Wednesday.

Trump is appealing a Feb. 16 decision by Justice Arthur Engoron of the state court in Manhattan, which includes a three-year ban from serving in a top role at any New York company, or seeking loans from banks registered in the state.

Engoron ruled in a case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, who accused the former president and his family company of overstating the value of his properties to inflate his net worth and obtain better loan and insurance terms.

The judge imposed a $354.9 million penalty against Trump, which had by last week grown to $454.2 million with interest. Another $112,000 of interest gets added each day.

In a filing with the Appellate Division, a mid-level appeals court, Trump’s lawyers said the “exorbitant and punitive amount of the judgment coupled with an unlawful and unconstitutional blanket prohibition on lending transactions would make it impossible to secure and post a complete bond.”

They said a $100 million bond, together with Trump’s “vast” real estate holdings and ongoing oversight by a court-designated monitor for the Trump Organization, would be more than sufficient to secure the judgment.

Trump’s lawyers also sought to temporarily stay enforcement of the judgment during his appeal, saying he would suffer “irreparable harm” if James forced the sale of his real estate assets to raise capital.

James’ office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A bonding company would be on the hook for any payout if Trump lost his appeal and proved unable to pay.

It might also have difficulty collecting if Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, reclaimed the White House from Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump is also seeking to avoid posting a full bond during an expected appeal of last month’s $83.3 million defamation verdict in favor of the writer E. Jean Carroll.

He has asked the judge in that case to let him appeal without posting any security, or alternatively by posting at most a $24.5 million unsecured bond.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)